The beaten riverboat co-captain was held for his life

The co-captain of the Alabama riverboat that was attacked on the Montgomery Riverfront said he “failed for his life” while being mauled by the unruly boaters – who had also caused them “trouble” in previous clashes.

Damien Pickett said his crew asked the occupants of a pontoon boat “at least five or six times” to move away from the dock for the riverboat Harriott II, a handwritten statement said obtained from NBC News.

They responded by “pointing the finger at us” for several minutes, Pickett said.

After being ignored, Pickett and a docker untied their boat, moved it “three steps to the right,” and moored it again, he told authorities.

“Meanwhile, two people were running after me,” he wrote, saying, among them was a man in a red hat who yelled, “Don’t touch that boat guy or we’ll beat you up.”

Damien Pickett, co-captain of the riverboat Alabama
Damien Pickett, co-captain of the Alabama riverboat, said he was “fighting for his life” during the wild brawl.
Facebook / Damien Pickett

“I told them, ‘No, you won’t,'” he said, saying he told them when they kept threatening him, “Do what you have to do. I’m just doing my job.”

Pickett said one of the men called another and “both were very drunk.”

While another man tried to “calm her down,” the boat owner came and “started getting loud.

“He jumped in my face. “That belongs to the fucking public.” I told him this was a city dock,” Pickett recalled in his statement.

Picket is attacked
Police said people using a pontoon boat pounced on Pickett after he tried to move their vessel.
Joe Davenport on Storyful

Picket is attacked
A witness claims racial slurs were directed at the co-captain before the attack
Joe Davenport on Storyful

“At that point, a tall, elderly white man came up to me and punched me in the face,” he said.

“I took off my hat and tossed it in the air. Someone hit me from behind. I started choking the older man in front of me until he couldn’t go any further while pushing him back,” Pickett wrote.

Someone then “attacked” him, he wrote. “I fell to the ground. I think I met one of them.

“I think I bit one of them and I can hear them say, ‘I’m going to kill you bastard,'” he wrote.

“I can’t tell you how long it took. I grabbed someone and held them for my life.”

Attack on the dock
A viral video caused a stir.

After picking himself up, Pickett said he looked up and saw a colleague. “One of my colleagues had jumped into the water and was pushing people and fighting,” he wrote.

“The guy who started it all choked my sister,” he wrote. according to WSFAwhich identified the suspect as Richard Roberts, 48.

People arrested after fight
After the brawl, thirteen people were arrested and questioned.

“I hit him, grabbed her and turned and [police] had a taser on his face. I told him I had been attacked and asked if I could finish my job. Because the back of the boat wasn’t tied down,” Pickett wrote.

When the situation was brought under control, he let go of his passengers with the help of police, he said. “I apologized to you for the inconvenience. Some of them gave me cards with their names and numbers on them,” he wrote.

Pickett said he was examined at a hospital after the attack, where he found he had “no broken bones, just a few bruised ribs and a bump” on his head.

Zachary Shipman
Zachary Shipman, 25.
Montgomery Police Department

His fellow captain, Jim Kittrell, told Alabama radio station 93.1 that this isn’t the first time he’s had trouble with the same boaters.

“It’s the same group that comes every year … we’ve had issues with them in the past, but it’s just funny things.” he told the broadcaster.

“A few years ago the same group was here. We came back from a cruise and our golf cart was missing. …we finally found it in the lobby of the Hampton Inn,” he said.

Allen Todd
Allen Todd, 23.
Montgomery Police Department

“We wanted to file a complaint at the time, but the police advised us against it.”

Kittrell previously said he believes the attack was “racially motivated” but police say the hate allegations are unfounded.

So far four people have been arrested in connection with the attack, police said more people are expected.

Richard Roberts, 48.
Richard Roberts, 48.
Montgomery Police

Roberts, Allen Todd, 23, and Zachary Shipman, 25, were charged with assault on Tuesday, while a fourth suspect, Mary Todd, 21, was arrested Thursday after surrendering to Montgomery police.

mary todd
Mary Todd, 21.
Montgomery PD

Police did not reveal what role she played in the brawl, but video shows a woman with facial features similar to Todd’s, punching and shoving others during the chaos.

It was unclear if Mary Todd and Allen Todd are related.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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